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Pfizer beats sales and profit forecasts, mum on future deals

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[October 28, 2014]  (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results, helped by growing sales of its cancer drugs and demand for its medicines in emerging markets, but did not signal any acquisition plans in the wake of its recent failed efforts to buy rival British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc.

The largest U.S. drugmaker on Tuesday said it had earned $2.67 billion, or 42 cents per share, in the third quarter. That compared with $2.59 billion, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier, when it took charges for restructurings, asset writedowns and other costs.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 57 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 55 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 2 percent to $12.36 billion, hurt by generic competition and the expiration of a longstanding deal with Amgen Inc to co-market its Enbrel arthritis drug. But they topped Wall Street expectations of $12.24 billion.

Pfizer tightened its full-year earnings forecast to between $2.23 and $2.27 per share from its prior outlook of $2.20 to $2.30.

Pfizer officially gave up its six-month pursuit of AstraZeneca after its final $118 billion bid was rejected on May 26. It had hoped to base the combined company in Britain, which has lower taxes than the United States, a maneuver called tax inversion.

Under UK takeover rules, Pfizer can make another run at AstraZeneca late next month, but it did not mention its intentions in Tuesday's earnings report.

Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Ian Read in July said Pfizer was looking at other potential deals and that taxes would be one of three major considerations.

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Other factors are whether a potential acquisition is undervalued and whether cost savings from a deal would offset a premium price.

In the next four years, generic rivals will challenge blockbuster Pfizer products such as nerve pain treatment Lyrica and anti-impotence drug Viagra, putting pressure on the company to acquire new products. It cautioned in the earnings report that its Celebrex painkiller in December would begin facing cheaper generics in the United States.

Pfizer shares rose 2 percent to $29.63 in trading before the market opened.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Lisa Von Ahn)

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